THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has failed to capture leaders of drug syndicates in Metro Manila (National Capital Region or NCR) despite continuous surveillance that the anti-drug agency has been conducting in 92 percent of more than 1,700 barangay (villages) in the region.
Director Erwin Ogario, chief of PDEA-NCR, admitted on Friday that illegal drugs, particularly methamphetamine hydrochloride, popularly known as shabu, have long been proliferating in Metro Manila.
Ogario said shabu has penetrated more than 90 percent of the barangay in the 16 cities and one municipality of NCR.
Data supplied by the PDEA Public Information Office (PIO) showed that around 92 percent of the 1,709 barangay in the region have long been battling illegal drugs, primarily shabu.
The PIO, however, has no specific information as to which barangay or city is considered as shabu hot spot.
Ogario told The Manila Times that the PDEA-NCR has not only been conducting surveillance on all the barangay in NCR but he has instructed various surveillance teams to ensure that their operations are “sustained.”
The sustained surveillance operations, however, failed to capture the leaders of the drug syndicates operating in Metro Manila.
During the interview, Ogario cited the PDEA-NCR operations in the cities of Makati and Manila–where substantial amounts of shabu were confiscated–for the arrest of three alleged drug pushers.
The latest in the PDEA-NCR operations, which took place on July 7, resulted in the arrest of a Chinese and the confiscation of P800,000.00 worth of shabu in a drug buy-bust in Santa Cruz, Manila.
The suspect, however, was a drug pusher, not yet a leader.
Drug pushers, or those who give specific amounts of drugs to a particular buyer, are not considered leaders of drug syndicates.
It is public knowledge that shabu operations in NCR, and in any part of the country, are being run by drug syndicates.
Ogario said PDEA-NCR has been doing its duty in order to address the drug menace in Metro Manila.
He added that anti-drug operations are not an exclusive business of PDEA since the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and local government units are also part of it.
Ogario cited the role that the community and the barangay officials play in combating illegal drugs in the region.